Dark Summit is perhaps the first game to take an extreme sports game and bolt a story on to it. The summit of Mt. Garrick has been closed off. To make matters worse Chief O'Leary is making every attempt possible to keep the snowboarders away from the mountain. Something untoward is happening on Mt. Garrick and for some reason they want the snowboarders, who are seen as 'adventurous and strong-willed' kept away so that they can't figure out what is going on.
The objective of the game is to get to the summit and figure out the reason for all the recent weird events. To do this you must earn Lift points which are in turn earned by completing challenges. Once you've reached the appropriate amount of Lift points then you'll be able to go on to the next stage. To obtain the challenges you have to snowboard through the yellow Challenge Com Link (CCL) stations. Doing so will pause the game and offer you a challenge. You are also notified of how many Lift points that the completing the challenge will give you. Aside from earning Lift points there are also five bomb pieces that need to be collected during the course of the game.
Looking at the snowboard elements of the game, Dark Summit is quite satisfying. To begin with your character, Naya, only knows the basics. As you progress through the game you will learn extra tricks. Special Trick power-ups can be collected on your way down the slopes. In case you forget how to perform any of the tricks you can access the special trick list by pressing the start button to pause the game. Compared to some snowboarding games the controls feel comfortable and no trick is too complicated to pull off. The points you earn from the tricks can help to buy more equipment for your snowboarder. This equipment can help improve the your performance.
Visually the game looks good. Importantly for a game that involves snowboarding the frame rate is quick and constant. The graphics have been improved for the GameCube and the game not only looks better but it doesn't encounter any of the slow down problems of the PS2 version.
Most of the information in the game is given in text. Mission instructions, challenges and trick lists are all text based and make it very easy for a deaf gamer to play the game. There are some tannoy announcements that aren't subtitled and your snowboarder occasionally makes comments that also go unsubtitled but overall the game is OK for deaf gamers.
If there is one complaint that can be levelled at the game then it has to be for the brevity of the game. The main game could be completed by a casual gamer in about a week and although you could player through with the other snowboarders, that become available, it doesn't offer anything different. There is a practice mode and some head to head games which could extend the lifespan of the title if you have a friend to compete against.
Dark Summit is an unusual game that doesn't happily sit in either genre but overall it is enjoyable. The snowboarding elements of the game have been well done and the manner in which you have to progress through the game, whilst occasionally repetitive, is enjoyable.
Overall Game Rating: 7.5/10 Dark Summit is one of those titles that deserves recognition on it's originality alone.
Deaf Gamers comment: Apart from a few minor details such as the snowboarder comments and tannoy announcements which are unsubtitled the game is fine for deaf gamers.